Did you know that common orange daylily (Hemerocallis fulva) flowers are edible? They’re good, too—mild-tasting with a hint of sweetness. And they make the prettiest salad toppers.
I am NOT talking about any other kind of plant called a “lily,” such as lily-of-the-valley or Easter lilies, which are poisonous (to people and to cats). As for the edibility of other species or hybrids of daylilies, I’m not certain, so exercise caution with those as well.
But the common orange daylily (Hemerocallis fulva) or “ditch witch” is a plant I grow in my vegetable garden, and now that it’s in bloom, it’s on the menu every day.
I’m also growing the lettuces Black-Seeded Simpson and New Red Fire. (The two green lettuces between the broccoli and BSS here are Red Deer’s Tongue, which got bitter too quickly for my liking.)
I order most of my vegetable seeds from Pinetree Garden Seeds, because they’re cheap. They’re not cheap because they’re inferior seeds, but because you get a smaller amount of seeds than usual in each packet. Who needs 40 acres of lettuce anyway?
I’ve discovered that even the measly twelve plants I’m growing produce WAY too much lettuce for two people (oops). I’ve given away about 15 bags of the stuff so far to friends and neighbors, and it just keeps coming back fuller than before. It’s kind of freaky.
You’ve heard the stories about gardeners overcome with surplus zucchini surreptitiously chucking the extras into unlocked cars? I’m about to do the same with lettuce.
So at this time of year I have a salad like this every day for lunch or dinner. The fully loaded version is as follows:
Black-Seeded Simpson lettuce
New Red Fire lettuce
Spinach (bolting now)
Orange daylily flowers
Chopped cooked chicken
Sliced Granny Smith apple
Sliced strawberries (from the garden, too, with any luck)
Roasted, salted sunflower seeds
Dried cranberries (I like the kind with half the sugar but no artificial sweeteners—regular ones are too sugary, and sucralose is gross)
I dress it with a honey mustard vinaigrette that I whip up while singing, “Extra-virgin, pressed for the very first time…”:
Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
1 T. minced shallot
3/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
Generous squeeze of honey
Good squeeze of Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper
I keep a jar of dressing in the fridge at all times. When it solidifies, I unscrew the lid, microwave it for 15 seconds, tighten the lid, shake it up, and it’s good to go again.
Eventually my lettuce will bolt (the heat wave we’re having is speeding things along), and we’ll be forced to live off of fresh peas, broccoli, and new potatoes from the garden.
And daylilies, while they last.